Pope asks Sri Lanka to reveal identity of Easter Sunday attackers

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Pope Francis urges the island nation to name the bombers behind a series of attacks in 2019 that the Catholic Church suspects were a conspiracy.

Pope Francis has urged Sri Lankan authorities to reveal who was behind the country’s 2019 Easter Sunday bombings in an attack the island’s Catholics suspect was a plot to propel President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to power.

While meeting with a delegation of more than 60 victims of the attacks on three churches and three hotels that killed more than 270 people, Francis on Monday asked Rajapaksa’s administration to reveal the truth.

“Please, out of love for justice, out of love for your people, let it be made clear once and for all who were responsible for these events,” the pope said in an appeal to Colombo.

“This will bring peace to your conscience and to your country.”

Addressing some 3,500 Sri Lankans in Italy, including some of the victims, the pope also said he prayed that Sri Lanka will also be able to ride out the worst economic crisis in its history.

The island is gripped by severe shortages of food, fuel, and medicines with its 22 million residents grappling with daily electricity blackouts and galloping inflation.

The head of Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church, Malcolm Ranjith, who conducted mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica just before meeting with the pope on Monday, called for “justice and change” in his country.

Cardinal Ranjith last month urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to set up a mechanism to probe the 2019 suicide bombings which Colombo had blamed on local Muslim groups.

“The first impression of this massacre was that it was purely the work of a few Islamic extremists,” Ranjith said.

 

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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